Moving and Need A New Job? 6 Steps For Success
In 2017 11% of the US population made a move from one residence to another. People move for many reasons, including:
Wanting to live in a particular city or part of the country
For a relationship
Lower cost of living
Whatever the reason, finding a job in a new location can be tough. Here are some ideas on how to make your job search in a new location easier and faster.
Choose a Specific Date
If you want to have success in your job search, you need to be very clear about the timeframe of your move. When you start looking, potential employers will want to have a date from you as to when you would be available to start. If you cannot give them one, it makes the decision to bring you on much harder for the employer, as you have added a level of risk that most employers do not want to take on. Without a specific date when you will be settled and available for work, the employer cannot do their labor planning appropriately. To say to an employer that you think you will be there in late spring is not good enough. You have to have a date that they can plan around. So instead of saying you will be in a new locale in late spring, you need to say that you will be there by May 15.
Choose a Specific Location
Some people when deciding to move want to cast a wide net of places that they are willing to live. I have had candidates tell me that they want to live in the mid-Atlantic region to be closer to family but have not selected a specific location yet. I can tell someone that living in Baltimore, MD is different than Washington, DC which is different than Richmond, VA. Each city has its own culture and vibe. You need to be clear where you want to go and why. You then will need to articulate this to an employer. If there seems to be a lack of commitment to come to their particular city, the employer will likely pass on you as a candidate. An employer does not want to invest their time interviewing you only to find out you are not committed to coming to where they are located and are still “searching” for the right place.
Communicating Your Desire to Move
The first thing the hiring team will wonder about your candidacy is why you are applying to a position in their city when you live someplace else. You need to be clear in your resume and cover letter the reason for the move. On your resume, a way to let an employer know that you are interested is moving is to put in the contact area section.
St Louis, Mo (Relocating to Phoenix on May 15)
In a cover letter, you should also make it clear why you are moving and the timeframe. You might want to start off your cover letter with the following sentence.
Due to a desire to be closer to family, I will be relocating to Phoenix the third week in March.
If you know someone already in that locale, you can ask if you can use their address for your resume, instead of your current address. If you do this, though, the assumption will be that you are available for interviews right away, so you will need to take your availability for an interview into account if you go that route. Doing this puts you in the position of essentially lying to the employer by misleading them about where you live. I would not recommend this as an approach, but it is an option.
Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile to Emphasize Your Desire to Relocate
Your LinkedIn profile has a place for you to put in your location. This is important since third-party recruiters and talent acquisition professionals use LinkedIn searches quite extensively to find potential hires, and one of the search terms they use often is location. Go ahead and change your location to where you want to relocate if you are comfortable letting people know that you are wanting to move. I would also add that in the Summary section that you plan to relocate to the area and give a timeframe for the move to provide clarification.
Set Up Job Board Alerts
Major job boards and even niche job boards these days allow you to set up alerts to notify you of new jobs in a specific geography. It is helpful to start setting these alerts up as you begin actively job searching to get a feel of the types of jobs available in your field and locations within your preferred geography. You can then get a sense of the level of jobs (entry-level, manager, director) as well as areas within a city where the jobs seem to be located. This can potentially help you narrow down the neighborhood(s) where you may want to either rent or buy. You can also do research on compensation for these jobs in this locale. You may find through your research that you want to set your compensation expectations higher or lower than from where you are now.
Networking Is Key
You are at a disadvantage when you are looking for a position from afar. There are estimates that 80% of jobs are not even posted online. How do people then find jobs? Networking. Well if you don’t know people locally you are at a significant disadvantage. So then you need to start making contacts. But how you might ask? By using the network you have and expanding out from there. Here are some ideas for networking that you should be using.
Start with your friends, colleagues and family first
Let people know that you are relocating. Then ask if they have any contacts in that location. If people work for large organizations, there may be an office or field people in that location that your contact may be able to reach out to on your behalf. Explore this first to get some leads.
Look for college alumni in the area
If you went to college, you should have access to some sort of alumni directory. Find alumni in the area. Make contact even if they are not in your industry. The more people that know you are looking the better and who knows, they may have someone in their network that could be of help.
Local organizations that represent your industry could be a networking opportunity
Many industries and fields have professional organizations that represent them. Often there will be a local chapter of the organization where professionals in that field may meet on a periodic basis. Try to find this group and reach out to the President. These people are often well-connected and can be helpful in providing introductions with others in the field. The local organization may also have a job board of local opportunities.
Third party recruiters may be helpful with your job search
You may want to reach out to staffing agencies and search firms to let them know that you will be in the area and are looking for work. Depending on the size of the location, you may have niche search firms that may place people in your field, such as accounting or technology. You should never solely rely on these agencies to find you a job, as they will only place individuals that meet the skills and experience of the clients they work with. But if you have in-demand skills, they could be a great resource for your job search.
Target companies that you want to work for in the new city
Take the time to find out about the employers in the area and where you think you might want to work. This means learning not only the type of work they do but also if the company’s size and future fit meet your needs. You are going through a lot of change with a move, so make sure that you have a good understanding of the character of the local employers to be able to make a good fit. Once you have come up with a short list of names, and then start making your presence known to them. Follow these companies on social media. Find people from these companies on LinkedIn and start to build connections (see my other blog post about how to find people to network with on the internet). This is a great way to get your foot in the door of an employer you are especially interested in working with.
A Word about Relocation Reimbursement
You really should not expect an employer to foot any of the cost of your relocation. In fact, relocation costs are one factor that makes an out-of-the-area candidate less attractive in general. Many employers do not have a budget for relocation, which can end up costing an employer tens of thousands of dollars. To make yourself more attractive to a potential employer, you may want to make it clear that you are not expecting any relocation assistance.
If you are looking to have an employer foot some of the bill for your relocation costs, I would suggest that you work with a search firm, where they can negotiate on your behalf. Sometimes a company may not have allocated budget money for relocation but may be willing to provide some amount to defray your costs if you are a well-qualified candidate in a hot market where demand far outweighs supply. This may be in the form of a sign-on bonus or even part of an actual relocation package where you would be reimbursed for specific costs. If you are negotiating compensation directly with a company, you may need to feel out whether defraying any of your relocation costs seems within the realm of possibility. You certainly can ask, but if you have said previously that you are not looking for any relocation reimbursement, you may start your relationship with the employer on the wrong foot even by inquiring about this. Tread cautiously.
Moving is a very stressful event in a person’s life. So is a job search. Combine the two of them, and you can really feel a lot of anxiety. Unless you are forced to move very quickly due to family events, you should have some time to plan your job search activities. Just know that it may take longer than if you were looking locally. Think strategically about what you want, make a plan and work the plan. Many people have successfully moved from one part of the country to another. You can too!